tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN April 24, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
begun. plus, another case of mad cow disease discovered in the united states. we have the latest on how this happened. and i'm here in jerusalem tonight. my exclusive interview with prime minister benjamin netanyahu about iran, about mir mitt and what lines he's drawing in the lines. let's go "outfront" from jerusalem. i'm erin burnett. i'm live tonight in jerusalem where i sat down for an extensive and exclusive interview with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu at his home and we're going to bring that to you in full in just a few moments. but first, voters tonight went to the poll in five states. it was a very big night for mitt romney. new york, connecticut, pennsylvania, delaware and rhode island, ballots were cast and the general election has begun. it was a big night for mitt romney. just moments ago he talked to supporters and talked about his democratic rival.
>> four years ago, barack obama dazzled us in front of greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. but after we came down to earth, after all the celebration and the parades, what do we have to show for 3 1/2 years of president obama? >> nothing! >> is it easier to make ends meet? >> no. >> is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? >> no. >> have you saved what you needed for retirement? >> no. >> john avlon is in new york with the latest. john? >> thanks, erin. it is a huge five-state sweep for mitt romney tonight in the northeast and the general election has begun. in the speech in new hampshire tonight, he laid out the themes for the general election. drawing a clear contrast with president obama on the issue of the economy, pointing to his private sector experience and saying that the real hope and change is still on the way with proven economic policies rooted in the free market. romney dearing up despite the
fact that newt gingrich and ron paul are still in the race. he's looking past them and lighting up a crowd, eager for what's ahead. mitt romney, a strong night. effectively locking up this republican nomination. erin? >> thanks, john. well, as we talk about the election in the u.s., one of the most crucial issues has everything to do with where i'm sitting right now. that is what will israel do about iran? it's a crucial question and i had a chance to talk about it with the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu. i went to and visited him in his home. it's an important week for israel. memorial day and the country's 64th anniversary as a nation. what does israel as a nation mean? what will they do about iran? and benjamin netanyahu made some news on the palestinian question. here he is on iran. thank you so much for inviting us and letting us come and see your home. >> well, welcome to jerusalem. take a look around. >> we came here to your
courtyard. i know we had to move -- there was a table here earlier. when we got here, there were two coffee cups on it. i guess it was yours and tony blair. you were talking this morning. but how important is this space for you? this is sort of your -- this is your get away space, right? >> no this is my prison courtyard because the prime minister of israel like -- i suppose the president of the united states, and maybe the pope, one or two other people. >> so you feel like you're under house arrest? >> for good reason, but i suppose so. but it doesn't mean there's not an endless number of people want to get into the prison cell and live here. >> i'm sure there are. iran. there's been 16 years of diplomacy as you have talked about. you have said repeatedly you said it in march i know you said it to the army radio this morning. it's not a problem of days, but also not a problem of years. now, you said that first in march so i would imagine not years plural. that means you think this will
be resolved by next spring? >> well, i hope it's resolved. i hope it's resolved peacefully. so many in the international community is putting a lot of pressure on iran and making clear that the nuclear program must stop. if it stops with sanctions, the sanctions and diplomacy, other pressures, i as the prime minister of israel will be the happiest person in the world. >> do you think that sanctions are working? i mean, i saw a story today i think about 56% of iranian -- iran's fleet of tankers sitting off the coast with oil, full of oil. because they can't sell it. it would appear that sanctions are working. >> well, they're certainly taking a bite out of the iranian any, but so far they haven't rolled back the iranian program or even stopped it by one iota. i mean, i hope that changes. but so far i can tell you the centrifuges are spinning. they were spinning before the talks began. recently with iran, they were
spinning during the talks and spinning as we speak. so if the sanctions are going to work, they better work soon. >> how do you know what they're doing? >> oh, we know. >> you know? >> we know and others know and we share what we know. this is not the case of the questions that people had about saddam hussein. >> they say it's for peaceful purposes. >> they say it's for peaceful purposes. >> when you have a sense of humor. they said this for medical -- it's for medical isotopes that's why they're developing icbms to carry medical isotopes to europe or israel or the united states. that's why they're building these underground bunkers. hidden between -- underneath mountains for medical isotopes. you know, that's why they're telling the world they're going to erase israel, medical isotopes. this is a farce. nobody can seriously -- nobody
can take them seriously. >> no nations with nuclear weapons have ever gone to war with each other. take india and pakistan. they haven't used them. could it be that israel and iran could end up in the situation like that where the acquisition of the nuclear weapon ensures it would never be used? >> well, i'm not going to comment on israel's purported capability, but i will say to date since the advent of the nuclear age after hiroshima, all nuclear powers have been very careful with the use or more accurately the nonuse of the nuclear weapon. when it comes to militant islamic regime, i wouldn't be too sure. because unlike say the soviets they can putnary -- put their ideology before their survival. so i don't think you can bet on their rationality. iran is giving its proxies,
hezbollah and lebanon, it's giving them the most advanced lethal weapons. whatever weapons they have, they give them. they have fired 10,000 rockets on israel cities. they have been helping them to murder diplomats worldwide and to kill american soldiers in afghanistan. think of what they'd do with nuclear weapons. i don't think you want them to bet the peace in the middle east and the security of the world on iran's rational behavior. i think it's a much safer bet to do what i and president obama and others have said -- prevent iran from acquiring atomic bombs. >> one thing that's interesting though when you talk about the nuclear parts of the regime, one of the soap operas there was about zero term. main character, he falls in love with a jewish woman and helps smuggle jews out to save them from the holocaust. it was popular in iran. what makes you so sure that they
are anti-semitic in a way that would cause them to use the weapon against israel? >> well, i draw a distinction between the people of iran and the regime that is tyrannizing them and -- >> well, they let the show air. >> well, they have to kill the people in the streets and goes into the homes after they cull the internet and make the people disappear. this a regime brutal to its own people. iran is not free. jews in iran have a lot to worry about. but the jewish state that iran openly calls a cancer that has to be excised from the united states, the enslaves will be annihilated. >> the negotiators seem to be saying that the sanctions are working and that they may in
fact roll back some sanctions that's what the iranians want and the really tough sanctions that are to take effect this summer. okay. what do you do? >> i think it would be a big mistake to rescind or lighten the sanctions. i think there has to be a cascade of sanctions. so far, that's the acid test. the sanctions haven't worked. how do we know that? because nothing has been stopped. what has stopped in the iranian program? >> what if they halted full enrichment to 20%, started importing that. would that be enough? >> i think they need to do three things. one, stop all enriched -- >> all enrichment, even the 3% for medical? >> yes. because they say they need it for medical isotopes, so the second point is after you stop the enrichment is remove the enriched material and you'll get these rods from another country that can allow you to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. and third, dismantle the
underground bunker. if they had no military goals they should respond to this readily. what we want are factual results. we want to see the iranian program rolled back. that's unfortunately not achieved by talks in which iran has one goal. to stall, delay, run out the clock. that's basically what they're doing. >> do you worry you'll put yourself in a position you may have to strike, a strike which the former head of mossad would only delay, not end the iranian nuclear program? by saying it's not days, not years, you'll end up with a date if you don't do it, you look like you couldn't or you wouldn't. so you have to. >> i'm not worried about what we look like. i am worried about stopping this. i think there are really three principles that should guide us and they have been echoed by the united states. i think any sensible person
understands. the first is that iran's nuclear weapons program must be stopped. the second is that containment is not an option. the third is that israel, the state of the jewish people must have the capacity to defend itself by itself against any threat. >> obviously, very significant that the prime minister is saying the only standard israel will accept is that iran not enrich at all. not even the 3% they would need for medical use. there could be an issue that's even bigger for israel right now. and we're going to talk about that next. >> i could deliver a peace agreement. i could get these people to follow me if i believed that i have a serious partner on the other side. >> announcer: with nothing but his computer, an identity thief is able to use your information to open a bank account in order to make your money his money. [whoosh, clang] you need lifelock, the only identity theft protection
you just heard a little bit of my exclusive interview with benjamin netanyau, the prime minister of israel. we are live from jerusalem, "outfront" tonight, you can see the old city behind me. israel right now honoring its dead in memorial day. we had a chance to talk about iran, as you just heard, zero enrichment is what he is willing to accept on that front.
he said he knows what iran is doing but there is an issue that could be bigger around that issue has to do with palestine, you haven't heard a whole blot recently, maybe because iran has been dominating the headlines. but he had something to say about palestine he has never said before. i want to ask you about another issue that hasn't gotten much coverage recently because iran has been getting so much coverage. i was in dubai recently, interviewing sheik mohammed earthquake the uae, ruler of dubai. and we talked about israel and here is what he said. >> we have nothing against israel, nothing against israel. what we want is for the palestinian -- a country for the palestinian and a country for israel. and i promise to you, israel will benefit more than us because israel have things to offer in the market. >> that's very wise. that's very wise and i agree with him.
i think peace would benefit us, as i think it would benefit the palestinians, as it would benefit the entire region. there's one other thing. i think that i could deliver a peace agreement. i could get the israeli people to follow me if i believe that i have a serious partner on the other side, willing to make the necessary compromises on the palestinian side. many compromises that people talk about on the israeli side, but there are necessary compromises on the palestinian side and you know, peace is always a two-way compromise. >> would you accept their belief though that they should have a country which is contiguous, not islands here and islands there, but one space? >> yeah, we talked about that. >> no checkpoints. >> i don't think this -- no checkpoints? i'm the prime minister who removed 400 checkpoints, barriers, roadblocks, so on to facilitate the growth of the palestinian economy. this is in line with what i believe is essential that is the
economic growth that is a great supplement and a great bulwark of actual peace. it is not a substitute for a political peace, but it helps and i'm very much in favor of that. look, there are so many issues to discuss, but you have to discuss them. you can't discuss them in the press, not even on cnn. you have to sit down opposite one another. that's what leaders do. >> yesterday, i saw some of the best of israel. we saw a winery. we saw the moroccan oil, the hair plant i was telling you about. at sunset, we went to a refugee camp outside jerusalem and going to talk to adults, you know what happened, children come flocking over, lots of boys came flocking over. they were playing soccer
football, and i asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up? they spoke in arabic. interesting since many are not in school, dentist, engineer, and i want to fight israel. every one of them. >> the first two i like the last one i didn't. >> you talk about changes in history, isn't this issue more important than iran or anything else? >> how do you change it? you change it by educating people for peace. i think one of the failings of the palestinian authority has been that the air, all this stuff about israel, doing away with israel, they have kindergartens for reveling in suicide bombers. kindergarten kids. not surprised kids grow up. the only way you change it is by having peace agreement and speaking peace to your people. i spoke three years ago to my
people about a solution of a demilitarized palestinian state that lives alongside -- recognizes the jewish state. >> how can you have a state that's demilitarized? >> it means they can't field armies or fire rockets. we want to make sure if we have a peace arrangement, we walk away in certain areas they won't be used a third time by iran and it's palestinian proxies on them. i don't want to run their lives. i don't want them as subjects of israel,a israel, i want them to be have
their own demilitarized state. >> one that isn't separated by israel? all one? >> no. no swiss cheese now. >> swiss cheese analogy used by george w. bush at that time. at that time, benjamin netanyahu did not support it. is there going to be a contiguous state? we talked to sources in the palestine -- the plo today. it's not something he had discussed with them. that could be significant in peace talks do again start, to use that contiguous. a lot of weight in the world. and we'll hear what he has to say about the presidential elections. plus, his obsession with the map. and mad cow disease in the united states. a lot of people are wondering what it means. we have some answers. great shot.
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welcome back. "outfront" tonight, live from the old city in jerusalem. i was spending time with prime minister netanyahu today. the interesting things about it in the courtyard where he smokes his cigar, his wife won't let him do it in the house but we got to go inside and see his study. while we were there we saw a map of, well, the middle east. here is quick glimpse of a kind of interesting moment. in is your neighborhood? >> this is gigantic israel. you know, i can cover it with my thumb. i mean, this is the arab world, right? saudi arabia, iran. this is all of -- this is this
gigantic israel that you hear about. that's it. from here to here. >> with all the focus on iran, what about egypt? your foreign minister said that could be a bigger threat to you than iran. >> well, you know, i'm not sure that's a correct quote, but certainly where he is concerned with iran and we are both concerned with the direction of egypt and i hope that any government that establishes in egypt understands that peace between egypt and israel is as much an egyptian interest as it is an israeli interest and i hope to continue the peace. that's our desire. >> just for the record, the quote was in the jerusalem post from the foreign minister on egypt. and obviously, it is an ongoing debate what is really going on between these two countries right now but that moment when he said this is the middle east and gestured to north africa and put his thumb on israel, such an interesting moment, it makes an interesting point. and then, well, someone in our
bureau here in jerusalem said, wait a minute, you have to look at this i said who is that? well, it was prime minister netanyahu, who, at the time deputy foreign minister, back in, was the date, january 18, 1991. take a look. >> this is the arab world. and i'm just gonna put my hands on it for the benefit of the viewers. i have a size ten shoe, american size ten shoe. i could walk on this map on the arab world. here's israel. i cover it with my thumb. >> i mean, you got to say, some things never seem to change in this part of the world. there's always worth putting a little bit of humor when talking about very serious subjects. one thing we talked about very serious is well what does bebe think about mitt? do you like him? >> well, look, here's an answer that will -- should satisfy you. all energy development comes with some risk,
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all right, we start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting, do the work and find the "outfront" five. i'm live in jerusalem tonight. more of the netanyahu interview in a moment, but john avlon has the "outfront" five. hey, john. up first, two additional secret service agents have resign and a third has lost security clearance in the on
going colombian scandal. one who resigned was staying at the hilton. the president was asked about the scandal as part of his appearance on "late night with jimmy fallon." he said they do a great job 99.9% of the time and a couple of knuckle heads shouldn't detract from the work they do. number two, john edwards detailed details about his secret life when a contender for the president. andrew young recalled the time he received calls from his mistress, rielle hunter. edwards is accused of using campaign funds to hide the affair. and young testified when he found out about the pregnancy, he said she's a crazy "s." stay classy. number three, a new case of mad cow disease was discovered in california. it was never presented for slaughter and at no time presented a risk to humans. this is the fourth case of mad
cow disease in the united states and the first since 2006. cnn senior medical expert elizabeth cohen said the potential threat is slim to none. number four, it was a blockbuster three months for apple. the numbers are just staggering. the tech giant reported sales of $39.2 billion. the company sold 35.1 million ipads. they sold 11.8 million ipads making it the fastest selling device. the company also has $110 billion in cash. it has been 264 days since the united states lost its top credit rating. what are we going to get it back? housing is still a main area of concern for the u.s. economy. home prices sunk a further 3.5% in february. now let's go back to erin in jerusalem. all right. housing obviously a crucial issue for the u.s. election, but so is what's happening here in
the middle east. with israel and with iran. israel has some very big decisions to make, but the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, also an important player in u.s. politics and a lot of people want to know what he really thinks about barack obama. and how well he really knows mitt romney. well, that was a very interesting part of our conversation. i'll put it that way and let you judge for yourself. i want to talk about u.s. politics. obviously, you're an important player in u.s. politics, as the prime minister of israel. >> no, i'm not. >> no? >> yeah. i'm going to stop you right there, erin. you know why? >> why? >> because i have enough politics of my own. i don't need to enter american politics. >> well, like it or not, people care about what you think about all kinds of things in the u.s. and you know mitt romney. you worked with him at boston consulting group, right? am i -- >> well, i didn't work with him, but when i entered the boston consulting group 35 years ago, something like that, he was --
well, i was a young recruit and he was already a star manager. he looked the same. >> he's looked the same. >> isn't that disturbing? i don't look the same. >> he has that kind of ken doll look. he always looks young. >> so but, you know, i didn't see him for many years and then i met him many years later when i was a minister of finance and he was the governor of massachusetts. >> he's a friend of yours? do you like him? >> well, look, here's an answer that will -- should satisfy you. i respect mitt romney. as i respect barack obama, the president of the united states and that's the end of the ranking and the questions that you will undoubtedly try again and again to draw me into. i have enough politics here. i don't want to get into american politics. >> i want to ask you one thing about though the iran issue and mitt romney. he wrote an op-ed in "the washington post" which i'm sure you saw. >> you don't stop, do you? you're very talented --
>> i'm paid to be relentless. >> go ahead. >> as is your job -- >> i'll be relentless. try and you'll get the same result. >> okay. he said that he would as pertains iran, press for ever-tightening sanction, buttress it with a military action and speak out on democracy. that sounds identical to barack obama. is that your perception that they'd have the same u.s. policy or not? >> you know, i'm not going to get into american politics. if you want to talk to me about the american policy, then i think the right policy is to make sure that iran doesn't get nuclear weapons. by the way, that would be a catastrophe for world peace, a greater danger to american interests and to american lives. >> the israel that the world sees is a lot about the start-up nation, it's entrepreneurial, it's creative and successful, it's wealthy and incredibly powerful.
it's not an underdog. and a lot of the narrative about iran or being attacked seems to be more of a victim. everyone is out to get us. but a lot of the israel that we see is a dominant, powerful israel, not a victim. >> i wouldn't say dominant. i would say israel is a vibrant democracy. tremendously creative. as wild entrepreneurs, sort of -- we're curing diseases around the world. your cell phone probably has four or five israeli i.t. applications inside. it's changing the world. we have the greatest number of nobel prize winners per capita of any country, so there's tremendous creativity used for good. for peaceful means. we're not seeking to dominate anyone. we're seeking to live in peace on every level. we don't teach our children to say i want to be a doctor, i want to be a dentist or i want to be a technologist and i want to fight the arabs.
>> 40% of the world's jews live in the united states. nearly as many as live in israel. "the crisis of zionism" talks about the jews that i'm friends with. they are marrying people who are not jewish, about half of -- nonorthodox jews now do. he talks about nonorthodox jews under the age of 35. i thought this was amazing. they're half as likely as people over age 65 to say they're emotionally attacked to israel. they feel a strong sense of belonging to the jewish people and that appears to be israel now seen more as an occupier than as a victim in the traditional sense. are you worried about american jews? >> no, i think there's a much stronger bond than meets the eye. there's a very strong bond that we can encourage and develop. especially by having young jews from the united states and
elsewhere from around the world come here. fantastic programs that just bring them in by the tens of thousands. i think ultimately the future of the jewish people is intimately bound with the future of the jewish state. my job as the prime minister of israel is to ensure that future. >> mr. prime minister, thank you very much. >> thank you. good to see you. and i'm joined by the columnist from the jerusalem post and john avlon is here. let me start you on the final issue. i think a lot of the issues on the book were very interesting, but among them was the increasing lack of connection that american jews seem to feel for israel by a lot of the polls. younger american jews. is that a real issue for this country? >> well, we have to separate between what the actual average american jew thinks and what peter binert thinks.
he says he speaks on a large amount of people, that has to be proven. one that we all share, we are disenchanted with the fact that the life necessitates power. we're sitting here just opposite the place where the hebrew prophets in ancient times first called on humanity to beat swords into plowshares. this has inspired israel history for better or worse and disempowered them with an exorbitant cost and the need for them to have power and deploy when necessary. it is imperative. he's unhappy with that. that is one thing. secondly, i think that more deeply speaking, peter perhaps is unaware of this, but he voices i think a deep disappointment with the fact that israel is becoming the leader of the jewish people. i mean not only inspirationally and morally but also demographically. three years ago, the israeli
statistical bureau reported matter of factually and hardly made a headline for the first time ever, there are more jews in israel than in america. in fact, you're sitting now in this country as it is home to the biggest -- the largest jewish community in the world for the first time since antiquity. >> i want to go -- we'll be talking to peter barnhardt soon. very controversial and interesting book. let me ask you about the prime minister had to say specifically about iran. is he bellicose? is he going too far? what do the israeli people support when it comes to israeli strikes against iran right now? >> i think they share netanyahu and el barack's general alarm and everyone agrees also that the nuclear program constitutes a menace. all of this is not a subject of debate here. the question is what do to do in the face of this.
i think that average israeli is concerned that somebody might on the spur of the moment be tented to resort to an adventure and doing the right thing is one thing and resorting to an adventure is another thing. israelis at least or middle aged remember very, very -- i would say traumatically the adventure of 1982 in lebanon. this is one thing that people want to avoid. beyond that, there's the longer-term concern that israelis understand i'm sure netanyahu also understands this that it's not an arab country and geographically it's beyond the arab world. you'll recall the pre-revolutionary when -- we should not harm that kind of -- >> interesting point -- >> with the wrong kind of action. >> they used to be allies. fran, i want to bring you in
here because i'm curious about something that the prime minister said earlier when he seemed to say there was -- there is no negotiating. there's no medical, there's no enriching to 3%. there's nothing israel will settle for. it seems like we could be reaching the real point this summer as talks continue where we have another big decision point. >> well, i think that's absolutely right, erin. look, israel, the united states, the world understands israel's greatest leverage is before the u.s. election. you know, john can speak to the politics of this, but there's no question that that's the case. the prime minister did say though, erin, in fairness to him that look, he'd be the happiest man in the world if sanctions worked but there's no question that sanctions are having an impact, but they need to have an impact on the nuclear program to be truly assessed as effective. unless they actually impact iran's nuclear program they're not truly effective. then the third and the final point, look, israel understands the time line in the united states. the president is facing an
election, one. two, you have sequestration for the military budget coming up at the end of the year and three, we're facing a draw-down. with less mo mney and less presence in the 1st of the year, they're in less of a position for any strike. >> and netanyahu said he'd stay out of the politics and honoring the bipartisan bond. it's fascinating fact he has a long-standing relationship, a friendship with mitt romney. going back to the 1970's. when they were both young men working at the boston consulting group. he has had differences with president obama in the past. it's interesting how this plays out with these pivotal decisions before us in the presidential. >> if israel goes ahead and i know you -- you saw the conversation, not days, not
years plural. i mean, the prime minister seems to be very adamant about that. of course that puts you in a time frame of before next spring. i'm just curious what happens here as i asked him. you have a moment where you speak so much about these deadlines and then if you hit them and don't do something you kind of lose all your credibility. >> no, i think it's a very good point. in fact, so what is going on now behind the scenes, the u.s. military is very actively engaged with the israeli counterparts. one trying to show them sort of the planning effort that goes on, out of public view, frankly. for the u.s., what would we have to do if we had to respond to an israeli action, what would we have to do if we had to take action affirmatively on our own, how prepared are we to do that? so that's in essence to give the israelis a sense of confidence that we are truly taking this seriously. the other piece of this, we have to persuade the israelis that the sanctions are effective against the program. you heard the prime minister say
talking is not enough. and if impact on the iranian economy is not enough so it's going to require policymakers to persuade iran that the sanctions are effective against the specific program. >> all right. fran, john, thanks very much to all of you. of course, as we talk about mitt romney, continuing his sweep tonight, getting ready for the general election against barack obama. we'll talk about the details of that next. plus, well, books. we'll explain.
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people from south sudan have been killed this week in fighting. it's an awful story that continues to go on with fighting in that country. david mckenzie is in nearby nairobi and i asked him how bad the violence has really got gotten. >> erin, the conflict continues in the volatile border regions of south sudan and sudan with aerial strikes on monday in the south as well as overnight reports of bombings near the border. and while this hasn't reached a full-scale war, certainly the rhetoric has. omar al bashir, the president of sudan, visiting the oil fields and says that they have spoken with quote guns and bullets. the president of the south is in beijing, trying to gain support for investment, but for its part, china will be trying to protect its investment in a diplomatic dance between the two sides. erin? the other big story we're following tonight is the republican results out of the
five primaries. john avlon is back with the latest. >> thanks, erin. a huge night for mitt romney. he swept all five northeast primaries and is on his way to becoming the official gop nominee for the president. david from joining us now and the editor-in-chief from think.org. well, the speech was called a better america begins tonight. let's take a quick listen to one sound bite. >> to all of the thousands of good and decent americans i have met who want a fighting chance, to all of you i have a simple message. hold on a little longer. a better america begins tonight. it's still about the economy and we're not stupid. >> now, that twisting of james carville's immortal line had to make you wince, but one of the messages of the speech throughout was that here's mitt
romney riding to the rescue of those americans who are still feeling squeezed in the great recession. doesn't that message put democrats on defense? >> >> well, it's a clever poll tested rhetoric but you've got 4.1 million jobs being created in the private sector since obama entered office. you have 25 straight months of job growth. those are actual measures of progress and mitt romney is trying to deny the fact that we're on the rebound and is painting a picture of america i think in a president obama that is so dour and basically not in line with people's actual expectations of where we're headed. >> interesting. interesting. david, now, as a former speechwriter, i'm sure you appreciated the reversal of president obama's refrain of fairness in his speech. listen to this. >> we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing.
we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the very taxpayers they serve. and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next. >> now, david, can this reframing of the fairness issue work for a general election audien audience? >> it can, especially since president obama is fighting back with a very ad hominin campaign. that means half the jobs lost still remain lost. this is a desperate economic situation and the president's team knows that quite well. so we have here an issue map where the president's team is
going to be attacking mitt romney on personal terms. he's too rich, too out of touch and mitt romney is taking what is the president's second best point, the president would really like to be campaigning on the basis of a solid record. he can't do so the second best point is to say i'm going talk talk about fairness and justice and he's turning it around in a way that's powerful and not afraid of language. >> polls are tightening, and is it starting to dawn on democrats that maybe they have been dangerously overconfident in recent months about the general election? >> i think there's no doubt it will be a tight race. the structure of the election is it will be tight. the races are going to be very close in a number of battle ground states. so we shouldn't take it lightly. i would say that to david's point, there's now a battle of ideas that has been joined. now obama can say to the american public, even if you're a little disgruntled with me, look at the alternative and
consider how much more terrible that would be. and i think that on the battle of ideas you have a candidate in mitt romney who continues to advocate that he's giving tax breaks to the rich and that's not going to ring true with the american people as the solution. >> david, final question. looking at the returns tonight, no doubt a huge night for mitt romney. but newt gingrich still saying he's going to stay in. ron paul still in. newt was hoping for a big win in delaware, failed to pull off that upset. but nonetheless, the other republican candidates got roughly 40% of the vote in delaware. and in many of the other states. does this indicate that romney still has some work to do in bringing together that republican base around his candidacy? >> no, it does not. he'll be making a terrible mistake if he thinks it is. the democrats fall in love, and republicans fall in line. republicans have fallen in line. fox news it's like some russian station when there is -- when that's a leadership change. they have fallen into line.
romney must not allow himself to be any longer boxed in to talking to only a small portion of the country. he began tonight talking to the whole country. keep doing that. and in everything, every decision from here on, vice presidential election, talk to the whole country. don't like the critics on the far right to allow you to believe they're more than a small fraction of the country. >> thank you both. erin? >> thanks, john. next, final thoughts from jerusalem. what i saw in benjamin netanyahu's study. [ male announcer ] nature valley sweet & salty nut bars. ♪ [ camera clicks ] ♪ it's hard to resist the craveable nature of a nature valley sweet & salty nut bar.
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as part of spending some time with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu today, we went inside his study and well, i find he likes something i love -- books. okay, can i just say something? i know you didn't want to talk about it earlier. do you know people look at your shelf or is it just random that i have mitt romney's book. fidel castro's book. tony blair's book and barack obama's books all up there. >> i have a lot of churchill books. >> yeah. >> i'm just looking, you know? this is a window into someone's mind. >> that's one of the reasons i love those kind of interviews. it gives you a moment to glimpse what the the person is like. that's what makes it all worth it. here's piers morgan tonight. >> how lugly in this race get? i'll talk to the man who gave him a